Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan is slowly becoming one of my favorite hotels in Las Vegas. When you walk in it has that cool feel, some of my best nights in Vegas have started at The Chandelier and Marquee is one of the best clubs in Vegas. This year I had the chance to eat at Wicked Spoon, which is the Cosmopolitan’s buffet.

The event was actually held by Thermaltake as a gathering of media and friends. Walking in it really has a different feel than many of the other buffets in Vegas, although you should expect that as the Hotel is only 2 years old. I was surprised at how much food there actually was, quite a lot to choose from. The photo below shows some of my plates, although I had about twice as many! I really did pig out!

One thing I really liked about Wicked Spoon was that many of the selections were served in cool little dishes or serving plates. This not only made each thing seem special but it allowed you to really try a lot of different things. Most buffets you just choose something and end up taking a lot of it and get full.

One thing that I really enjoyed were the mini salads. As many of you know I am a huge salad fan and they had a few different mini salads to choose from. My favorite was a sort of mixed green and herb salad that had little pieces of fish in it.

All of the meats were excellent. They had many different selections from ribs to chicken wings, but the two that I really enjoyed were the Prime Rib and bone marrow. Although I had to point to which bone marrow I wanted as many of them were overcooked.

There was an entire section of deserts. They had pretty much anything you could imagine, even a full selection of different ice creams. You just walk up and tell them which one you want and they put it in a nice little cup for you. Again so you can try more than one thing.

I ate so much that I did not even notice the crab legs. Apparently there were king crab legs at the buffet, but even though I missed them I was more than satisfied with everything. Each of the little dishes I selected had a very rich taste and were unique. The only thing I would say was weak was the sushi selection and soup, but again all of the other great food really made up for it.

If you are in Vegas and are looking to eat a lot and have an extremely large selection make sure you check out Wicked Spoon.

Wicked Spoon on Urbanspoon

The CES 2013 Swag

Ah swag, you know the free stuff you get for attending conferences and events. I make this post every year after CES and I usually end up coming home with something cool. Out of all the events that I attend CES is where I know I will get the most swag. I actually plan for it by bringing an extra suitcase to take swag home!

Above you can see most of the swag I got this year, minus all of the t-shirts that went into the wash before I realized I needed them for this photo! With the shirts I normally wear them in my unboxing videos, so if you want your companies shirt in a video send me one!

The green and black bookbag was the press bag this year and it was not that bad. It sure beat the bag from last year! One thing I always look to get at CES are flash drives, I mean who can’t have enough flash drives right?! Some companies are very cheap and only give our their press released on 512MB drives, but this year I got a 32GB drive from Mushkin, a 16GB drive from Corsair and two 8GB drives from MSI.

The coolest thing I got this year was a Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet. I won it at the Cooler Master party, so it isn’t technically swag. I actually don’t even know what I am going to do with it. I already have a tablet…which I rarely use. Did you attend CES? How much swag did you get?

Why I attend Trade Shows and Conferences

Well it is that time of year again!  Tomorrow morning I will be jumping on a plane to head to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  If you are going to CES make sure you check on my guide on how to survive the show.  Conferences and trade shows are great to go to, but many people do not attend them.  One of the main reasons is the cost.  Flying anywhere these days is not cheap and renting a condo for a week in Vegas isn’t either.  I used to try to justify the costs of the trip by telling myself the coverage would bring more people to ThinkComputers, but it is so much more than that.  So here is why I attend trade shows and conferences.

Facetime with Companies
If your business is online there is a pretty good chance most of your communication is done via e-mail.  While this is not a bad thing it is always good to meet people in person.  If someone actually knows you they will be more likely to help your business or want to do business with you.  This is one of the most crucial parts about attending these events and will really help you grow your business.

Networking
Say you are attending a conference about online marketing, there is probably a good chance there are people there who are in the same business as you.  Or maybe they do something completely different, but you meet and really hit it off.  This could be a future business partner.  Networking at conferences is just as important as attending the sessions.  Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask them what they do.  It is always good to meet new people in your industry.

Learn Something
This is a given if you are going to a conference.  You are going to attend sessions and hopefully learn something new that will benefit your business.  Really pay attention during sessions because remember you (or your company) is paying for it.  Even if you are going to a conference you are going to get a hands on experience with products or something similar.  Make sure you take home some valuable information.  Most likely if you are attending a conference you traveling so this is another way to learn something.  How do you think I know so much about Vegas?

Seeing Friends & Getting out of Town
Working in the same office day in and day out can be very annoying.  Often you may feel stuck or that you need new surroundings.  A conference is the perfect cure, it gets you out of town!  Along with that if you are attending a conference there are probably people in your industry that you are friends with that are also attending.  For me CES is the time of year when I see all of my friends who work in the tech industry or that run a tech site.  I normally only see them once or twice a year so it is a great time to catch up.

Coverage
As I said I used to justify my trips with the whole “coverage” thing, but as you can see it is much more than that.  But you should cover or blog about the conferences you attend.  I would assume many people would be interested and it can serve as an excuse to get your company to send you to trade shows or conferences.  Also if you cover conferences you can most likely get a press / media pass to the event for free!

So I’m off to Vegas tomorrow, make sure you follow me on twitter to see what I’m up to all this week during CES.

Looking Towards 2013…

Well today is the last day of 2012. Can you believe how fast this year has gone by? At the end of 2011 I told myself I really needed to concentrate on my business and work harder. I think I have done some things to better my business, but I did not fully accomplish everything. I think if you run your own business you always feel this way. I am in no way disappointed in 2012, I believe it was a big step in the right direction and I have positive thoughts going into 2013. I am not going to call these resolutions, but things I plan on working on in 2013.

Productivity – I think it happens to everyone, but sometimes I literally sit in front of my computer and get nothing done. I made an effort this year to start working smarter and I need to continue to do that in 2013. Also if I am not doing work I need to walk away from the computer and do something else.

Getting Ahead – The way ThinkComputers works I try to stay ahead. It is so stressful to be writing the review the same day as it needs to be posted. Towards the end of the year I’ve got behind and I am only 1 day ahead, which is still stressful. My goal would be to be a week ahead of content, let’s hope I can maintain that in 2013.

Blog More – Sometimes I forget about this blog, but it really is a great outlet for me to talk about what is on my mind. It also serves as a personal journal and something I can look back on from time to time. So in 2013 I want to keep up with this blog

Be More Active – I can’t even tell you the last time I was at the gym. I go running, but that is not enough. Once I get ahead on my work I really plan on working out much more.

Learn More – This year I really did not learn too much. There are some things that I could learn to better my business like SEO and a better understanding of online marketing etc. I really want to dedicate some time to learning things that will better my business.

A Guide to Surviving the Consumer Electronics Show

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As the year comes to an end that means the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is right around the corner. I’ve been going to CES since 2006 and I have learned quite a lot since that first trip where I was totally clueless. This guide should help you survive CES even if you have attended the show before.

Make use of the Monorail – This is one of the most useful things during CES. The Las Vegas monorail will take you from most of the hotels on the strip to the convention center…in 6 minutes. No taxi is going to get you there faster than that, hell you will most likely wait in a taxi line longer than that. A 3-day pass for the monorail is around $30-40, you could easily spend more than that per day on taxi’s. My first year I spent close to $300 on taxi’s just the first 2 days of CES!

Wear comfortable shoes – CES is the largest trade show in North America, which means there is going to be a lot to see. This means you are going to be doing a lot of walking. Make sure you have comfortable shoes or you are going to end up with blisters on your feet. This has happened to me quite a few times.

Make sure your room has a fridge – Most hotels will give you a free mini-fridge if you request one. This will allow you to store drinks etc. You don’t want to have to leave your hotel late at night to go get a cold drink. This just gives you easy access.

Find out where companies are located before you schedule your meetings – The Las Vegas convention center is HUGE! Before you schedule your meetings find out where the company you will be meeting with is located. You don’t want to have to walk across the entire convention center 10 times for different meetings. Also many companies are setup in hotels so schedule accordingly.

Take advantage of the free lunch / dinners – If you are a member of the press you are provided with a free lunch each day of CES, take advantage of it! CES is a busy week and you can forget about eating because there is so much going on. Without food your body is going to shut down and you don’t want that to happen during CES. Many of the events have free food as well.

Attend the Parties – There are normally 3-4 parties a night during CES. Even if you are tired I suggest attending them. First because they are the best networking events and second because they will allow you to wind down at the end of the day.

I hope this guide helps you survive CES and if you will be in Vegas in January let me know!